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JCB machine gives lift to living London art project

On July 6th a JCB machine gave a lift – literally - to one of the UK’s most inspirational art projects as a living monument was created in the shadow of one of London’s most famous landmarks.

Over the following 100 days, a total of 2400 ordinary people from across the UK would individually occupy the empty Fourth Plinth, in Trafalgar Square for an hour each through day and night. The plinth was built in 1841 and was originally intended for an equestrian statue but is now the location for specially commissioned works of art, the latest of which sees humans occupy it in an extraordinary artwork created by the celebrated sculptor Antony Gormley and entitled One & Other.

A JCB Loadall telescopic handler, more accustomed to carrying out lifting and loading duties on building sites and farms, swung into action in the shadow of Nelson’s Column and under the gaze of London Mayor Boris Johnson, to effortlessly lift the first of those ‘artworks’, housewife Rachel Wardell, of Lincolnshire, six and a half metres into the air, enabling her to take the small step to becoming the first human occupant of the plinth under the exciting project. She used her occupation to raise awareness of the NSPCC, which, by coincidence, is JCB’s nominated charity.

The brand new JCB Loadall 535-95 which can lift a maximum payload of 3.5 tonnes to 9.5 metres, was made at JCB’s World Headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire and was used by the producers of the event throughout the 100 days, lifting each of the so-called ‘plinthers’ into position as nearby Big Ben struck the hour and lowered them back to the ground again an hour later once the new incumbent had stepped into position.

Leading British artist Antony Gormley, the man behind the impressive Angel of the North sculpture on Tyneside. He is one of the country’s most-successful and best-known living artists and he specifically selected JCB machines because of their status as an iconic British product.

He said: “I’m delighted that JCB, as an iconic British brand, is supporting One and Other with the provision of a machine which will help elevate – literally - everyday British life to a position that was formerly occupied by monumental art. It is helping create a unique snapshot of the extraordinary, multi-layered society that is the UK in 2009.”

JCB Brand and Marketing General Manager Matt McClurg said: “JCB Loadalls are the world’s biggest selling telescopic handlers and to be at the heart of such an exciting British art project is not only an honour, but also a tremendous shop window for our products."